Results from CSU concrete canoe competition

A group of civil engineering students build a concrete canoe for the annual competition. The students will be racing the canoe at the south bay of Horsetooth Reservior on Saturday from 12-4pm.
A group of civil engineering students build a concrete canoe for the annual competition. The students will be racing the canoe at the south bay of Horsetooth Reservior on Saturday from 12-4pm.

Last weekend several of CSU’s engineering seniors competed in the concrete canoe contest and races, held at Horsetooth Reservoir, and CSU’s team was one of the best.

“We got second place in women’s sprint, and second place in Coed,”  said Roz Reynolds, team member and senior in civil and environmental engineering.


Reynolds explained that it was the work of the team that helped them do so well. Both the design of the canoe and the strength of the team members contributed to the overall success.

“We had three very strong women paddlers who had extremely good paddling technique and experience,” Reynolds said, “Not only that, but our canoe was drastically different than other canoes; it was shaped more like a kayak and had a rudder at the bottom to help it track.”

Overall, CSU’s canoe scored 6th place out of 13. This was due to the other elements besides the race, such as the design papers and presentation.

“I wish that we had done better, but I’m really happy with how we did at the races,” Reynolds said, “We definitely had a presence there.”

Reynolds also admitted that adhering to the rules may have helped them have a better outcome.

“We got docked points for a lot of small things because the judges are extremely strict, in future we need to understand the rules better,” Reynolds said.

While the women’s team did great in the races, the men’s team did not place.

“Paddling was our main set back,” said Anthony Grasso, team captain and senior in environmental and civil engineering.

While the men did not place in the races, the team believes that they still had one of the best canoes. The major setback was in the design papers.

“We divided up the sections of the design papers evenly and after combining them, several paragraphs and sections were inconsistent or didn’t match up,” Grasso said.


There were some canoes that did not place at all in the races but got much better scores in the judging process.

“Colorado School of Minds and the University of Wyoming both did very well on the design papers, but neither of them placed in the races,” Grasso said.
Not only was CSU’s team docked for the design papers, but also for the presentation. The theme of CSU’s canoe was of an ancient Greek battle ship.

“We had a big red sail to enhance the visual effect, however the RFI’s prohibited a sail or canopy at the display so they docked points for it,” Grasso said, “No one read the RFI’s so we didn’t know.”

The canoe team does not feel poorly about how they overall since most of the team members were new to the competition.

“Utah State spent over 3500 hours on their canoe, compared to the 1500 hours we spent on ours,” Grasso said.

Grasso also explained that Utah State begins selecting their team for the next competition over a year in advance.

“We did not have that many experienced veterans, when Utah State had 6,” Grasso said, “but we are slowly gaining ground and knowledge

Vaishak Gopi, team member and senior in environmental and civil engineering, also felt that CSU was still learning.

“We are still working on project management and the lightness of concrete,” Gopi said.

Gopi explained that the CSU team has learned a lot from the competition this year, and that next year is promising.

“We had a huge breakthrough with our material, using more high class material and also focusing more on the finish of the canoe even at the beginning stages,” Gopi said.

While the team lost many point during the judgment process, the team does not believe any of the judgment was unfair.

“They did not provide much reasoning for many of the rules, but we had the opportunity to be aware of them,” Gopi said.

Collegian Reporter Jenni Jalilevand can be reached at